When voters make their way to the polls tomorrow, they’ll likely be considering where their candidate stands on housing affordability.
That’s because 60 per cent of Ontario homeowners would be more likely to vote for a candidate who promised to make housing more affordable, according to a Nanos Research poll commissioned by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) earlier this year.
Since Kathleen Wynne announced that she believes she will not be re-elected, the race to become Ontario’s next premier is down to Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford and NDP leader Andrea Horwath. Now, it’s worth considering where the two candidates stand on housing affordability.
BuzzBuzzNews has rounded up everything Ford and Horwath have said about the Ontario housing market, to help you make an informed decision at the voting booth.
Early in the race, Ford floated the idea of opening up the Greenbelt for housing development. But the proposal was immediately met with condemnation from environmental advocates and his political opponents, and he walked back the idea a day later.
Now, the PC platform promises to increase supply of affordable housing in the GTA, while leaving the Greenbelt as is. Ford has also mused about removing the GTA foreign buyer tax, which was introduced last April.
“I believe in the market dictating,” he told the Globe and Mail. “The market, no matter whether it’s the stock market or anything, it will always take care of itself – supply and demand.”
The NDP platform has a bit more to say about affordable housing. Included in its promises is the creation of 65,000 affordable homes in the next 10 years, along with a variety of new taxes. The party is proposing a housing speculation surtax on foreign and domestic speculators who don’t pay taxes in Ontario, modelled after a similar tax recently imposed by the BC government.
Horwath has also placed a focus on the rights of renters, suggesting that, if elected, she would introduce stricter rent control legislation which would attempt to keep current rent levels low while incentivizing the development of more purpose-built rental buildings.
She has proposed the idea of a “rent registry” which would allow tenants to see how much their landlord had charged past tenants.
“We also know there is no way of a tenant knowing what the previous tenant was paying and so, in order to ensure that rent controls are effective, we need to have a way of reporting and keeping a database of what the rents are,” she said, in a statement.
Finally, Horwath has promised to create a “Residents’ Rights Act” which would allow homeowners to add legal apartments, laneway houses and in-law suites to their homes, in an attempt to create housing supply in crowded urban markets.